If the Cowboys were not going to make a sizeable investment in DeMarcus Ware, and they did not make a sizeable investment in Julius Peppers, then they were not going to do the same for Allen, who has 128.5 sacks in his career.
The Cowboys knew Ware better than anybody. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli had insider knowledge on Peppers from their time together with the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys got to know Allen on a free-agent visit, but the hope was he would come in at their price, not at the price the Bears have paid.
Allen could receive up to $32 million on the four-year deal with the Bears, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, which includes $15.5 million in guaranteed money.
The Cowboys could have done a deal like that just as they could have done it for Ware or Peppers, but they want to hold the line on signing aging players to big-money deals. The big-money deal they gave Henry Melton last week is really a one-year, $3.5 million deal that could become a four-year, $29.5 million deal if he hits on all of his incentives. Melton is only 27.
There is no doubt Allen would have filled a need. The Cowboys do not have a right defensive end of note on the roster yet. They have what looks to be serviceable left defensive ends in George Selvie, Jeremy Mincey and Tyrone Crawford. They could play on the right side if needed, but the Cowboys could look in the draft for the more athletic, prototypical right defensive end.
If they can’t, they will throw numbers at the position and hope that eases the loss of Ware and the non-signings of Peppers and Allen.
Time will tell if the Cowboys are employing the right strategy, but at least they are sticking to their plan.